By André Comte-Sponville
André Comte-Sponville, A Small Treatise at the nice Virtues, translated by way of Catherine Temerson (New York, Holt Paperbacks, 2001)
The wanting it truly is that this ebook will make you are feeling reliable approximately being good.
The lengthy of it is:
i used to be doing a paper on `value ethics', and my event was once that during the realm philosophy, in particular on account that 1903, with the publishing of G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica and his promulgation of the `naturalistic fallacy', the distinction of values and personality had nearly disappeared. This common influence was once proven whilst I checked out a number of scholarly ethics texts from the 1960's they usually proven in simple talking, that the learn of ethics had turn into an research of language, given the King Kong sized effect of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the potent Joe younger sized works of J. L. Austin, an instantaneous descendent of the effect of G. E. Moore's form of philosophy.
yet I saved following my nostril and in a really fresh ethics e-book by way of Terry Eagleton, hassle With Strangers, he criticized either ecu psychologized ethics of Jacques Lacan and the 'high-toned' morality speak of legislations, correct, responsibility, precept, and legal responsibility traceable to Immanuel Kant. Eagleton additionally mentioned a comparatively new choice of papers, advantage Ethics, which headlined a big 1958 paper through Wittgenstein scholar, G.E.M. Anscombe on `Modern ethical Philosophy' which started a go back to advantage ethics. The irony is that the flaw Anscombe pinpointed in ethical philosophy is the absence of sound research in `philosophical psychology', a topic which constantly sounded strange to me, because the heritage of philosophy, particularly from the traditional Greeks as much as Descartes, was once a spinning off of disciplines to young children similar to physics, arithmetic, and psychology. yet ethics, in particular advantage ethics and a number of the flavors of Utilitarianism stand and fall by way of what they suggest by way of psychological states equivalent to `pleasure' and `happiness'. So, on reflection, i used to be no longer too stunned whilst I searched amazon.com for `virtues' and personality, and got here up with not anything yet books on self-help, psychology, and `Christian values'. That final is not surprising, because the modern educational ethical philosophy is all approximately principles and values for the crowd. It spends nearly no time at the ethical viewpoint at the person. yet I did locate one sensible ebook on `moral values' that's a becoming supplement to the hot theoretical paintings on virtues. this can be the publication brought up above, via a contemporary French professor of philosophy on the Sorbonne. in response to the thumbnail biographical comic strip, this ebook has been translated into 19 languages and has been a bestseller in France.
My first actual reactions have been that the ebook used to be no longer a superficially saccharine therapy of the topic and that it did provide critical reflections at the virtues which trusted techniques from many nice philosophers and essayists resembling Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, Epicurus, Sigmund Freud, Immanuel Kant, Montaigne, Friedrich Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Spinoza, and Simon Weil. and people are only the excessive issues. whilst the name says `great virtues, I part look forward to finding the seven virtues of Catholic theology or `the seven heavenly virtues' which distinction the seven lethal sins. as an alternative, i locate eighteen, with way more congruence with Aristotle than with the church fathers. those eighteen, in a a little bit intuitive order, are:
(Sorry, Amazon squeezes out the entire tabs and additional spaces)
Politeness constancy Prudence Temperance
Courage Justice Generosity Compassion
Mercy Gratitude Humility Simplicity
Tolerance Purity Gentleness sturdy Faith
The perception of prudence could have been one among Aristotle's maximum contributions to ethical philosophy. it's the estate which tempers the slavish devotion to principles to anything which literally displays good judgment in life.
One irony of advantage ethics is that at the one hand, it's obvious as a method to set up an ethical conception self sustaining of a trust in God, whereas it additionally seems a stronger embodiment of the Christian ethics of the Gospels than the principles established deliberating Kant or the `greatest reliable for the best quantity' utilitarianism of Mill. those are either `Apollonian' types of ethics. with no checking my Nietzsche texts, i believe `virtue ethics' is a extra balanced mixture of the Apollonian with the Dionysian, grounded in instinct, emotion, a little risky, and with an appreciation of the chaotic.
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Extra resources for A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life
And we need to decide whether or not we want to be part of a society that ignores the plight of the needy in other countries, or the plight of future generations who will have to live with whatever decisions we make about the consumption of natural resources, global warming, pop ulation growth, and so on. The point is that all these issues are pressing—one way or the other they have to be made, and will be made, and it is natural, in asking such See nn. 12 and 21, for citations to works where Mackie and Harman defend a social convention view of ethics, according to which ethics is a human construction.
It matters to us whether we are free, and whether we live in a society or world that is just. It matters to us whether or not the world ends on our watch, or soon afterwards, because of global warming, or some chemical, bio logical, or nuclear disaster that we are responsible for. The fact that such issues matter to us is not up for debate. They do. 37 This brings me to my final set of observations. Parfit may be correct that if his externalist non-natural view of normativity is mistaken, then nothing matters in his sense.
I believe that the faculty of reason is a motivating faculty,29 so that there is a connection between reasons (in the normative, justificatory sense) and motivation (in the empirical psychological sense) as inter nalists have long contended. 30 As internalists have rightly recognized, we are also often psychologically motivated by various ele ments of our subjective motivational set and, as Parfit might put it, sometimes those elements may be non-rational or irrational. I conclude that externalists should grant, and even insist on, the importance of the As recognized in n.